10 of the biggest game releases for Christmas
We pick ten of the biggest games releasing in time for Christmas
Star Wars Battlefront
It's the most wonderful time of the year. Unless you want to play all the latest games, in which case you'll be cursing the fact they all seem to come out in November. With so many titles competing for shelf-space (and the contents of your wallet), here's ten of the biggest releases out in time for Christmas.
Tom Clancy's Rainbow Six Siege (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
The Rainbow Six franchise has been ticking away since 1998, although things have been rather quiet since Vegas 2 released seven years ago. The stripped-down, tactically-focused gameplay of Siege looks like it's aiming to take on Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (see our 10 best games of 2012), as teams of terrorists battle counter-terrorists on relatively small maps. There's a strong emphasis on teamplay which makes this look a world away from Call of Duty.
Star Wars Battlefront (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
Although created by DICE, the studio responsible for the Battlefield series, this is a very different kind of shooter. Designed to appeal primarily to Star Wars fans rather than hardcore gamers, it's a much simpler game, lacking Battlefield's extensive weapon customisation and tactical depth. As an evocation of Star Wars, it's faultless. Graphically, it's one of the most beautiful games ever made, with stunning attention to detail which will delight fans. The audio, too, is unerringly faithful. However, without doubling down cash to buy the season pass, there are serious questions about the game's longevity, particularly since the game lacks a singleplayer campaign.
Lego Dimensions (PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360)
Similar to the popular Skylanders series, this toy/game crossover features a pricey base pack which can be accessorized using a huge assortment of toy packs featuring characters from various franchises including Doctor Who, The Simpsons and Back to the Future. The game features a laugh-out-loud script and great novelty value but be prepared to stump up serious cash for expansion packs to get the most from it.
Guitar Hero Live (PS4, Xbox One, Wii U, PS3, Xbox 360)
Five years ago, the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games reached overload and the fad for fake plastic guitars and drum kits came to an abrupt end. Both series are now back, and while Guitar Hero features (as its title suggests) just the one instrument, its a much better design than Rock Band's effort. And while Rock Band is also compatible with its last-gen accessories, Guitar Hero's tracklist ultimately triumphs.
Call of Duty: Black Ops III (PC, PS4, Xbox One, PS3, Xbox 360)
Ever since it ditched its WWII setting, CoD has grown into an annual juggernaut, and it's arguably become the byword for modern gaming (both good and bad). This year's offering is set 40 years after Black Ops II, in 2065. Expect an overwrought script, gigantic set pieces and the return of Advanced Warfare's jetpacks (now augmented with a wallrunning mechanic lifted from last year's Titanfall.
Uncharted: The Nathan Drake Collection (PS4)
With Uncharted 4 due in March, gamers can reacquaint themselves with the charismatic (and – going by his astronomical kill count – psychopathic) Nathan Drake and pals. Each of the first three Uncharted games has plenty to recommend it, particularly Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, which is one of the best games ever made. All three have been lovingly remastered for PlayStation 4 and, by doubling the framerate, the sometimes frustrating gunplay has been somewhat mitigated. The games are united by strong scripts, superb voice acting and stunning vistas, making this a great value collection.
Just Cause 3 (PC, PS4, Xbox One)
The Just Cause games feature open-world exotic locations, much like the Far Cry franchise. What sets them apart from the competition are their signature gameplay tools: a grappling hook and a parachute, which you're able to deploy ad infinitum. By tethering items together, you can create all sorts of explosive mayhem, and it's enormously fun traversing the huge maps using a combination of wingsuits, parachutes and vehicles.
StarCraft II: Legacy of the Void (PC, Mac)
The final part of Blizzard's StarCraft II trilogy features a solid (and immaculately presented) singleplayer campaign alongside further tweaks to its enormously popular multiplayer mechanics. The original StarCraft practically invented e-sports in the late 1990s and, while SCII hasn't quite lived up to that legacy, the gameplay has reached an improbable equilibrium between its three playable races, no mean feat when each of the many units are so different.
Rise of the Tomb Raider (Xbox One, Xbox 360. PC and PS4 to follow in 2016)
Lara Croft, one of the most iconic characters in gaming, was the subject of an immensely successful reboot in 2013. Thanks to competition from upstart Nathan Drake in the Uncharted series, the new iteration was a huge improvement on previous instalments, with much-improved shooting mechanics and a far grander scale. Writer Rhianna Pratchett (daughter of Terry) has a strong background in writing for games, including Mirror's Edge, Prince of Persia and 2014's Thief reboot.
Fallout 4 (PC, Xbox One, Xbox 360, PS4)
It's been seven long years since we emerged, blinking, into the apocalyptic landscape of Fallout 3. Anticipation for this sequel was enormous, even though it's only the second open-world Fallout game developed by Bethesda (also responsible for The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim). It's a typically ambitious endeavour, full of the thrill of exploration – trying to keep focus on just one quest is next to impossible when there are distractions at every turn. Unfortunately, the game is currently in a buggy state and saddled with the same sort of awful user interface that dogs every Bethesda release. But with such a huge, dynamic world to explore it's easy to get lost in the wasteland.
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